KANSAS CITY, Kan. – The message from Sporting Kansas City's CEO was short, to the point … and not happy.
“Home losses r unacceptable. 3 by June 1st.....no,” Robb Heinemann tweeted after Sporting gave up two goals early in the second half and lost 2-1 to the Montreal Impact on Saturday night – matching their total number of home defeats from the 2012 season.
Heinemann, who was out of town for Saturday's match, won't get any argument from Sporting's captain.
“It's just not good enough. This is not a good home record right now,” goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen told reporters afterward. “Very, very, very disappointed. We've got to change our mentality, how we approach those games here at home. When we were down 2-1, we went after them. We should have gone after them from the first second of the game.”
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The problem wasn't effort, Nielsen said. It was a lack of cohesion at both ends of the pitch and an inability to withstand Montreal's charge in the opening minutes after the break, following Claudio Bieler's penalty in first-half stoppage time which put the hosts up 1-0.
“We gave of ourselves 100 percent,” the SKC goalkeeper continued, “but we didn't do it as a team in the first half. Coming up 1-0 at halftime should have given us a hell of an advantage, but it didn't. We came out, and in five to seven minutes they scored two goals. That changed the game, and we were chasing and chasing and chasing.”
Both of Montreal's goals, from Sanna Nyassi in the 47th minute and Collen Warner in the 53rd, came after Sporting failed to clear the ball from set pieces on their own end. Nyassi collected a loose ball at the top of the area and sent a low shot through traffic, and Warner had an easy finish after Peterson Joseph's missed try at clearing Felipe Martins' bicycle-kick pass.
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“[The first] one is our allocation of how we were standing,” manager Peter Vermes said in his postmatch news conference. “Once the ball was cleared, we were missing guys for the rebounds that pop out. In the second one, you can't fan or whiff at the ball inside the box when it's played in there, then the player gets an easy chance like that.
“You work too hard over the course of the game to give up two easy chances like we did,” he added. “They capitalized on them. At the end we just couldn't find a way.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.